WEXHAM COURT PARISH COUNCIL
Two members of the public.
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE:
Councillors Robert Aldridge, Bryan Corps, Tony Haines, and Gavin Hemming.
Tina Kellett (Finance Clerk).
37. RESIGNATION OF MEMBER
The Clerk expressed her regret that Simon Goddard had written to her to resign his position as Councillor and explained that this was largely due to increased work commitments which he felt were preventing him from fulfilling the requirements of the role. Simon wished the Council every success and kindly offered his future support and assistance whenever time allows.
SBC’s Electoral Services Manager would be informed by the Clerk so that the vacancy could be advertised accordingly.
38. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Councillors Dave Davies, Henry Egan, Cheryl Hemming and David MacIsaac declared an interest in relation to their membership of the Wexham Bowls Club.
39. MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 11TH JULY 2006
The Minutes of the Meeting of 11th July 2006 were approved as a correct record. There were no matters arising.
40. MINUTES OF THE FINANCE & GENERAL PURPOSE COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON 31ST AUGUST 2006.
The Minutes of the F&GP Meeting of 31st August 2006 were approved as a correct record and, following a brief discussion regarding the proposed increase in the annual Bowls Club rent, the recommendations of the F&GP Committee therein were also approved.
The Chairman of Finance, Councillor Cheryl Hemming, presented the Annual Accounts for the year ending March 2006 for the inspection of Full Council. No questions were raised and the Annual Accounts were duly approved. The Annual Return was subsequently completed and signed by the Chairman and the Clerk and would be submitted to the external auditors upon the Finance Clerk’s return from leave.
41. POLICE LIAISON
PC Shardlow reported that the last month had seen a heavy workload due to various cases involving criminal damage, assaults, travellers, and community problems. He had been spending a lot of time in resident’s houses and report writing, and therefore may not have been seen out and about on the beat. It was noted that local residents tend to complain if they don’t see him. However, he was pleased to report that overall the local crime rate was down 15% over last year.
The Clerk asked PC Shardlow to let her know if he was pulled away from Wexham on other duties as she would then write a letter of complaint to Inspector Boomer on behalf of the Parish. A Police Federation meeting would be taking place the next week and this concern would be raised with the Chief Inspector.
There had been ongoing problems with vehicles in the area of Quinbrookes, largely due to overcrowding of houses which was now being resolved. Some traveller families had caused problems in the Wexham area, but PC Shardlow had ensured that the children were in school and some of the travellers were now planning to move on.
The incidence of criminal damage and theft from vehicles had previously increased but, due to recent arrests, the number of such incidents had now fallen. Leaflets were being distributed in connection with a Police campaign highlighting issues involving mini-motos.
Concerns were raised in connection with street racing around the estate and PC Shardlow was monitoring this.
A notorious multiple property owner had been causing problems in respect of dumping of rubbish and noise disturbance and this was being dealt with in association with Slough Borough Council under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act and anti-social behaviour laws.
Community Warden Chris Spencer reported that several untaxed cars in Wexham had been either moved by the owners or removed by the Borough Council. He clarified the laws regarding overgrown residential hedges in response to a recent enquiry by the Clerk. Hedges overhanging public paths or highways could be dealt with by SBC, but those between adjoining houses were a private matter for the property tenants/owners involved. Councillor Davies commented that it was difficult to get SBC to take the necessary action when required. Councillor Egan had been trying for some time to resolve the ongoing problems caused by the hedges in the Norway Drive/Almons Way alleyway, but the Housing and Highways Departments continually denied responsibility for them. He pointed out that this alleyway was now posing a hazard since the overgrowth is a haven for muggers. Chris Spencer would follow this up with the residents concerned at 16 & 18 Norway Drive. He would also take on board the problem of the Primary School’s hedges, which are never cut back adequately and constantly overgrow the footpath.
Noise issues were also raised in connection with late night music in the Mansel Close and Farm Crescent areas. PC Shardlow had previously dealt with a resident in Mansel Close and would monitor this further.
Caroline Husbands, the SBC team leader dealing with the Clean Neighbourhoods & Environment Act, was now retiring and senior team leader Nick Nawell would be the principal point of contact until a replacement is recruited. Diane Viechweg was now the Environmental Health Officer allocated to Wexham. Sharon May is the Anti-Social Behaviour Officer dealing with Council tenants; private tenants are dealt with by the Police.
Members of the public were permitted to address PC Shardlow and Chris Spencer at this point. A resident complained about the dirt track behind Mirador Crescent and Holmedale and was assured that People First had promised to resurface this road. Councillor MacIsaac reported that the Holmedale resident who had recently suffered repeated vandalism of his car had now been allocated a garage. Concerns were raised about the fly-tipping of rubbish in the front gardens of various property owners and it was reported that notice was now being given to these owners warning that removal of the rubbish would be charged. Councillor Egan highlighted two properties in Norway Drive requiring such notice and would inform Chris Spencer of further cases that come to light. Chris Weedon would be invited to attend the next Parish Council meeting to discuss issues relating to the parking of vehicles on grass verges.
The Chairman thanked PC Shardlow and Chris Spencer for all their time and efforts in dealing with local issues.
42. INFORMATION REPORTS - MEMBERS & BOROUGH COUNCILLORS
Councillor MacIsaac reported that the unauthorised taxi rank at 90 Knolton Way had been given notice to quit. He had been dealing with problems at a multi-occupational property in Uxbridge Road. Breaches of the Conditions and Informatives applied by SBC in connection with the Sikh School development were discussed. It was felt that SBC had failed to adequately deal with these breaches and the Planning Officers had also failed to respond to related communications from Councillor Egan.
Councillor MacIsaac had recently been given the opportunity to meet Sir John Betcheman’s daughter, in his capacity as Mayor of Slough. She explained that her father had regretted writing his (unfortunately) famous poem about Slough, and had withdrawn the statements therein. An article would be appearing in the local press to this effect.
Councillor Egan had prepared a written report and this was circulated. Emails to SBC were being frequently blocked from the official email addresses of the Clerk and Councillor Egan and this was a matter for concern which they were currently trying to resolve.
Councillor Davies reported that recent weeks had been relatively quiet but he had been dealing with various planning issues as usual. He had also dealt with some ‘lippy’ youths, but felt that things were improving in this regard. He had presented the Parish Council trophy to the winner of the Bowls Club Charity Day, and the Clerk would be publishing a related page on the Parish Website.
43. FINANCIAL REPORT
The Chairman of Finance submitted the Financial Statements for the 1st to 30th June and 1st to 31st July, and invited questions from Members. Councillor Davies clarified the changes to the format of the Finance Statements and explained that some budgeted items would be re-allocated to cover recent expenses.
RESOLVED: That the Finance Statements for June and July 2006 be approved, and authority be given for twenty-five cheques to be signed.
44. REPORT OF THE CLERK AND PLANNING MATTERS
The Clerk had previously circulated updates to Members regarding recent planning applications and various items were discussed. Objections had been raised to applications at 27 The Normans, 402 Wexham Road, 36a Berryfield, 212 Knolton Way, 90 Knolton Way, 35 Mansel Close, 70 The Cherries, 132 The Frithe, and 24 Almons Way. Councillor Egan had also chased up problems with the Sikh School development including mud on the road and blocking of the road with large vehicles. Councillor Davies thanked the Clerk and Councillor Egan for dealing with the Parish objections to these and other applications.
The Clerk reported that the troublesome hedges at The Cherries had now been removed. Quotes for the clearing of the Allotment Site ditching were still awaited. Renovation work on the Main Hall Floor had commenced and would be completed by the end of the week.
A new member of staff had now been recruited to fill the Relief Caretaker vacancy, commencing 25th September. The Main Caretaker had unfortunately given notice of his resignation due to an unavoidable change in his hours of work with the Police. The Clerk had therefore suspended ad-hoc bookings at the Hall until the staffing arrangements could be clarified. It was hoped that the new Relief Caretaker may take on the role of the Main Caretaker in due course. This being the case, Councillor Hemming’s son Steven had offered to take on the Relief Caretaker’s role.
The Clerk thanked Councillor Davies and his wife Liz for their recent time spent trawling through old Parish Council Minute Books. The purpose of this was to review and note important items therein for the information of the current Council.
45. USE OF PARISH HALL BY WEXHAM SCHOOL
The Clerk clarified that Wexham School had approached her regarding daily use of the Parish Hall from 09:00 until 15:00 during term time for creative activities. Councillor Davies and the Clerk had attended a meeting with the School Bursar and Deputy Head and various requirements were discussed on both sides. The school had indicated that the students would be under the same controls as they are in school, and they would ensure that the Hall is left in a clean and tidy state each day. Furthermore, they would hold regular meetings with representatives of the Council to ensure that no problems are highlighted. They would like to commence activities as soon as possible.
Councillor Davies and the Clerk suggested that, since this would be a community function, it would be appropriate to offer the school the Concessionary Rate of Hire. In addition, the Hall would need to open at 09:00 to accommodate the schools requirements and, since the daily times of use may vary, it would be practical to provide the school with their own skeleton set of keys to access the premises.
Prior to any decision being taken, Councillor Egan declared an interest and withdrew from the discussions since his son attends Wexham School.
Granting of the Concessionary Rate was agreed unanimously since the original purpose of this special rate was intended for such community groups.
Concerns were raised in respect of the early opening time and the provision of keys since this would be contrary to the current policy. There was also concern regarding the Health & Safety and security issues of giving access keys to a non-employee of the Council. However, it was generally felt that there would be no Health & Safety or security risks since the keys would only be in the hands of designated and responsible key-holders. Furthermore, whilst it was recognised that the current policies had been put in place for the benefit of our staff, it was considered that the Council is free to change the terms of its own policies to accommodate individual circumstances. These items were discussed at length and a vote was taken by a show of hands.
It was subsequently RESOLVED by a majority vote that:
a) The Concessionary Rate of Hire would be granted;
b) Wexham School would be permitted use of the Hall from 09:00;
c) A single set of keys necessary to gain access to the premises would be provided to designated key-holders, the names of whom would be notified to the Clerk.
The arrangements with the school would be reviewed on a regular basis and Members were welcome to attend the next meeting with the school’s representatives.
46. PUBLIC QUESTION TIME
A large soft-sided lorry had been causing congestion near the entrance to Norway Drive, particularly during the school rush. PC Shardlow would investigate this, and suspected that the vehicle may be something to do with the Sunday car-boot sale.
Vehicles parked on the corner of Berryfield and Quinbrookes were still causing problems and restricting visibility at the junction. The Police and Community Warden had been previously dealing with this and would follow it up. Tickets could be issued in the case of obstruction.
The Meeting closed at 9.07 p.m.
Please click here to see the associated Chairman's Report for September, referred to in Item 42 above
or click here to return to home page